The Arthur Chronicles—No. 13

Almost nobody would describe Arthur Lough as impulsive. Thoughtful, yes; careful, yes; sometimes almost maddeningly thorough. But surely not impulsive. Except, that is, for his mildly annoying propensity to act on impulse when it comes to placing a telephone call at Cell phone connection technology concept on white background.the moment a noteworthy thought crosses his mind, irrespective of the time of day (or night).

If my phone rings at 6:00 a.m. or while I am eating dinner or at 11:00 p.m., it is usually Arthur, calling to share something he has just read or seen on TV which has provoked him or stirred up his thought processes. Most of the time, the subject matter proves interesting enough to overcome the mild irritation of being interrupted at an inconvenient moment.

And so it was that, last Monday night, just after I had sat down to dinner with my wife, the phone rang. It was, of course, Arthur. We had agreed to meet for lunch at his house on the following Wednesday, and his wife had just reminded him that that would be the first day of Lent, traditionally known as Ash Wednesday. Arthur follows the Anglican custom of observing Ash Wednesday (along with Good Friday) as a day for fasting. There would be no world-famous corned beef sandwiches at the Lough house on that day.

Continue reading

In Defense Of Lent

I grew up in a tradition which not only didn’t recognize Lent or Ash Wednesday as legitimate observances for Christians, it actually found them laughable. I remember how ash-wednesday-2we would snicker and make wise cracks about those few of our classmates who would leave school at noon on Ash Wednesday and return an hour or so later with some sort of black smudge on their foreheads. We didn’t understand it, and so we made fun of it.

I remember hearing a preacher tell the story of a Catholic priest who was accosted by a mugger as the priest was walking home after visiting a parishioner who was ill and confined to her home. He carried a box of chocolates which the parishioner had given him as a token of appreciation for his kindness.

Continue reading